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The Persistence of Imperialism Essay

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The Persistence of Imperialism

Following World War II, the concrete nature of imperialism, or the subjection of people or groups based on a social, economical, or racial hierarchy, was seemingly in decline. For instance, India and Pakistan had both gained their independence from Britain in 1947 (p.761), and the French, though unwillingly, gave up their colonies in Vietnam (p.754), but with the development of the Cold War there became a need to ideologically separate the free “First World”, which was made up of western Europe and the United States, from the communist “Second World”, which was primarily made up by the Soviet Union. This separation unintentionally formed yet another hierarchy, and further perpetuated imperialistic notions.
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During this time (1950 - 1968) the United States was undergoing an anticommunist movement headed by Wisconsin Senator, Joseph McCarthy (Tignor et al., p.770). One of the purposes of this movement was to inhibit the diffusion of communism to former colonial states such as south Vietnam, and was the primary reason the U.S. invaded Vietnam. Though the implicit imperial nature of the invasion eluded U.S. President Johnson, it was quite evident among the countries citizens and civil rights leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who noted this repetitious trend in American values for the past century. In his “Beyond Vietnam” meeting at Riverside Church , New York, Dr. King took stance that the domestic problems the U.S. was facing was symptomatic of a nature of persistent suppression of other ideas, races, and cultures. He felt that if the U.S. government could overcome these maladies, that the civil rights movement, which was in direct opposition domestic racial imperialism, and the threat of further foreign dispute could be considered a concern of the past. In this, Dr. King speaks out against the imperialistic nature of suppression, in favor of peaceful acceptance. The United States and other former colonizers were not the only culprits in perpetuating imperialistic tendencies during this Cold War dichotomous context. The newly
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